Ashton was set to have an incredibly promising football career and was primed to represent both England and play for Arsenal after his excellent performance with the Hammers in 2006. The tragedy of his career-ending injury was that he sustained it during a mere training session. Indeed, during a Shaun Wright-Phillips challenge, Ashton sustained an injury that caused him to miss an entire year of football. He briefly returned to play for the Hammers once more, and it seemed that he was back on track. However, he quickly realized that his ankle would never fully recover, and he was forced to retire at the age of 26, which is when most players are said to be entering their best years.